TestKitchenSidecar: Following Taste to Uni Cream Pasta

March 11, 2009

This is a kitchensidecar original.  Inspired by the idea of an uni chowder, I paved my way through conceptualization and arrived at realization.  

Vision Makes Taste:

I wanted to make a sauce that wouldn't overpower the uni.  I picked cream as a base, because it is fully bodied, earthy, and most importantly, not too pungent (as would a tomato base be). 

To ensure that the flavors would hold hands in harmony, rather than "red rover" each other into destruction, I eliminated garlic. 

I picked a pasta that would coat well.  There is something sexy about longer pasta.  I went with something classic: Spaghetti

I wanted simply flavors, so I limited the ingredients to aromatics, cream, wine, and uni.

I wanted a crunch to offset the creaminess: enter bread panko crumbs.  Crunchier than Italian, Japanese style panko bread crumbs were ideal in size and body to festoon on the spaghetti. 

I also used the numbins from a cauliflower floret as part of the bread crumb mixture, for a little flavor.  

Finally, I topped the pasta off with a seared scallop because I wanted some protein.  The scallop seemed along the same lines as uni and had the firmer (although not too firm) texture that would balance the dish. 

All in all, I call this a success!  Please enjoy!  

My one caveat is that I made this up as I went so the recipe is more about feel than exact measurements.  Be intuitive and you won't go wrong!

Total time - 1 hour, Active time - 1 hr

SUMMARY: You will make the cream sauce with an immersion blender while crisping the bread crumbs.  Right before serving you will sear the scallop.

Cream Sauce
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 celery rib , chopped
- 1 carrot , chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/3 c white wine
- 1/3 c half and half
- salt and pepper to taste
- Small palmful of fresh uni
- 1 T chopped dill
- 1 Cauliflower floret (like a small3 inch floret) 
- 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
- olive oil

- 4 Large Scallops
- 3/4 lb Spaghetti
1. In a small saucepan saute the onions, carrots, and celery over medium heat until wilted, 5 minutes.  De-glaze with wine and reduce until the alcohol has evaporated, 3 minutes. May sure the mixture has reduced and the wine has ripened, so that the cream will NOT curdle when added.  

2. Add the cream, bring to boil, cover, reduce to simmer, 10 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

3.  Blend with an immersion blender until the sauce is fine.  Push through a fine mesh sieve.

4. Add uni bit by bit and blend until frothy.  Add enough uni to taste. Should taste GOOD!!!!

5. Meanwhile, cut the nubins off the cauliflower and mix with panko bread crumbs and dill.  Generously dowse with olive oil.  Bake in the toaster over at 400 F until golden. 5-10 minutes. 

6. Right before serving bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and throw spaghetti in.  Boil as directed, drain the pasta and reserve 1 C cooking liquid.  In a hot pan heat the half the sauce and mix in the pasta.  Add pasta water and more cream sauce as needed to achieve appropriate consistency. 

7. Wash and dry off the scallops with a paper towel.  Season with salt and pepper. In a hot saute pan, sear the scallops over high heat in 1 T olive oil. 5-6 minutes on one side.  Don't move them!  They look like they are burning, but this is just carmelization! Flip and cooked other side, 3 minutes.

8. Arrange the heated pasta on a plate, top with the seared scallop and bread crumbs. Enjoy!


Elra said...

Delicious sounding, though I never had uni before. I can just imagine how this must be. Creamy and delicious.

Jenny Suen said...

oh my god.

megan (brooklyn farmhouse) said...

oh lord that looks awesome. Brilliant!!

we are never full said...

this must've been amazing. uni has such a rich and flavorful taste - i can only imagine it w/ cream. holy $hit, diggity damn is right!

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Mmmmm great idea, I love uni in pasta, mashed potatoes, or really any starch for that matter.

claudia (cook eat FRET) said...

this is total dream pasta...

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